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Both Hollywood and corporate America are taking note of the marketing power of the growing Latino population in the United States. And as salsa takes over both the dance floor and the condiment shelf, the influence of Latin culture is gaining momentum in American society as a whole. Yet the increasing visibility of Latinos in mainstream culture has not been accompanied by a similar level of economic parity or political enfranchisement. In this important, original, and entertaining book, Arlene Dávila provides a critical examination of the Hispanic marketing industry and of its role in the making and marketing of U.S. Latinos.
Dávila finds that Latinos' increased popularity in the marketplace is simultaneously accompanied by their growing exotification and invisibility. She scrutinizes the complex interests that are involved in the public representation of Latinos as a generic and culturally distinct people and questions the homogeneity of the different Latino subnationalities that supposedly comprise the same people and group of consumers. In a fascinating discussion of how populations have become reconfigured as market segments, she shows that the market and marketing discourse become important terrains where Latinos debate their social identities and public standing.
List of Illustrations
Preface to the 2012 Edition
Mediating Identities. Advertising: The Privilege of Commercial Discourse. Hispanic/Latino. Following the Corporate Intellectual: Doing Fieldwork on a Fieldless Site.
Chapter 1. “Don’t Panic, I’m Hispanic”: The Trends and Economy of Cultural Flows
Shaping Hispanidad from Latin America. The Ethnic Division of Cultural Labor. The Category That Made Us the Same. Global Trends: Segmenting and Containing the Market.
Chapter 2. Knowledges: Facts and Fictions of a People as a Market
The Turn to Research. Maneuvers in the Market. And Don’t Forget That We All Eat Rice and Beans (or Habichuelas, Porotes, Frijoles . . . ).
Chapter 3. Images: Producing Culture for the Market
The Nation. The Values. Nationalism, Nostalgia, and Ethnic Pride. The Latin Look and “Walter Cronkite Spanish,”. “The Nation and Its Fragments,”.
Chapter 4. Screening the Image
Through Corporate Eyes. The Virginal Mom and Other Negotiations. Identity Politics. The Real or Wannabe Hispanic.
Chapter 5. Language and Culture in the Media Battle Zone
Univision: Toward One Vision / One Culture. The Price of Synergy. Telemundo: “The Best of Both Worlds,”. The Terrain of Latinidad: Toward the Best of One or Two Worlds?.
Chapter 6. The Focus (or Fuck Us) Group: Consumers Talk Back, or Do They?
The Focus Group. Quandaries of Representation. Culture and Color.
Chapter 7. Selling Marginality: The Business of Culture
Marketing African Americans: Marketing “by Any Means Necessary,”. Marketing to the Model Minority Consumer. Sensitive People, Docile Consumers.
Arlene Dávila is Assistant Professor of American Studies and Anthropology at New York University.She is the author of Sponsored Identities: Cultural Politics in Puerto Rico(1997).
"This study remains a useful source of information for scholars and students of Latino Studies, Cultural Studies and Communication Studies."—RoseAnna Mueller Letras femeninas
"Davila has entered the back rooms of a new and important sector of the advertising industry, shedding light on the people and businesses that are working to exploit the marketing hot buttons of Hispanic USA. Latinos, Inc.
could become a scholarly milestone, a vivid portrayal of the strange marriage between cultural anthropology and merchandising strategies that forms an elemental ingredient of U.S. consumer society."—Stuart Ewen, author of PR! A Social History of Spin
"A work derived from prodigious fieldwork that sets a standard for the ethnography of cultural institutions in their varied corporate forms and market participations. Latinos Inc.
provides a rich, fascinating, and fresh empirical venue for theories of identity and ethnicity in the U.S."—George Marcus, author of Ethnography Through Thick &Thin
"An insightful and compelling account of Hispanic marketing and television as it becomes a significant force in U.S. corporate media. In its rigorous attention to the culture of marketing, Latinos, Inc.
fills a significant void within the literature on mass communications, marketing, and television studies."—Chon A. Noriega, author of Shot in America: Television, the State, and the Rise of Chicano Cinema
"Davila is the first to show us the world of Latin media through the eyes of advertising and programming professionals; the first to comprehend how Spanish language network television has reconfigured Latino identity; and the first to fully delineate the plurality and heterogeneity of Latino audiences. She enables us to understand the formative role played by advertising and commercial culture in shaping the contours of contemporary Latino/a identities. Latinos, Inc.
sets a new standard for scholarship in ethnic studies and cultural studies."—George Lipsitz, author of The Possessive Investment in Whiteness : How White People Profit from Identity Politics